Murs Moves Past Label Split to Find His Happily ‘Fornever’
Long before he signed to Warner Bros., West Coast rapper Murs had a strong underground following. It was this popularity that he says made the label take notice of his music, but right after dropping his first major release ‘Murs for President’ he parted ways with the company. Despite rumors that he was kicked off the label for not being bankable, the Bay Area native wants to make it clear that leaving was his decision.
“I parted ways with them because they just didn’t believe in me,” he told The BoomBox. “They believe in me enough to pump millions of dollars into my record but when it came time to push something into radio that sounded a little different, they declined. So I said, ‘Well, you gave me your word and, as gentlemen, I expect to walk away from this business deal, if you can’t keep your word.” Eventually they agreed.
Murs says he joined the major label “to put a new image of black America or the young hip-hop male into the mainstream.” But, due to a difference of opinion, he wasn’t getting the push from the label he foresaw. “They rather go to radio with the new Gucci Mane record than the new Murs record,” he says. “I was making more money being independent, but they said they were gonna spread my message. I felt that I had something to say to the world about being young, black, intelligent and different. At the end they got gun shy when it came time to pull the trigger.”
With features from big names like Will.I.Am and Snoop Dogg, the scenario was more confusing than bittersweet. “Will.I.Am had two or three hits on the radio at the time and my single was produced by Will.I.Am,” Murs continues. “I don’t see why mine wouldn’t have fit. Will agreed to do the video. If they didn’t like that song we had another song and Snoop agreed to do the video and give us single rights, so I didn’t see where it was such a risk. Ya know? But I guess the real risk was me — and [Executive Vice President of Warner Bros.] Tom Moskowitz was the main one who came and said, ‘You don’t have a hit.’ I said, ‘I beg to differ, but thank you very much and have a nice day.”
Now back on his independent hustle, Murs and his frequent collaborator 9th Wonder have released their fourth album ‘Fornever,’ which he says differs from their previous work due to the location of the recording. “There’s a lot of trust,” he says of their work together. “If we were to be matched up on eHarmony or wherever, or by A&R or something, they wouldn’t pick us two people to be best friends, but something about it musically works. But this time [was] different because he was on the West Coast. The last three albums we did he was in North Carolina and this new one we did in Los Angeles so I think I was able to maybe ingratiate him a little bit into the Los Angeles lifestyle.”
“I think he and his co-producer, E Jones, were inspired to make it a little more funky and a little more full — more low end and baselines and things like that. For us to be able to shoot the album cover together in downtown Los Angeles with someone like Estefan Oreole, who’s done [work for] Snoop, Cypress Hill and everything, LA photography wise for the last 15-years, and for him to see the history, to get to do the Hollywood things and move around, I think had an effect on the overall sound and feel of the record.”
In April, the 32-year-old kicked off his Fornever and a Day tour, which has been hitting venues all over the country. Aside from performing several shows, he also documents his journey for webisodes posted on YouTube and his Facebook page. “It’s been good. The response has been really good,” he said of the show. “We have more people in some cities, less people in other cities but everyone who comes out is definitely there to have a good time just showing me a lot of love. It definitely reminds me of why I do it in the first place.” The Forever and a Day Tour wrapped up June 12 in Los Angeles. ‘Fornever’ is in stores now.